Krofne are a type of deep-fried donut which are popular in Serbia and Croatia. They are made using milk, butter, flour, eggs, sugar and yeast.
Krofne don’t have a round hole in the center like donuts usually found in the US do. They can be filled with marmalade, chocolate or vanilla custard, and can also be topped with icing sugar, chocolate icing or sprinkles.
There are a plethora of variations of krofne found across Serbia and Croatia, and indeed around the world. For instance, in the Czech Republic, koblihy or vdolky are filled with jam in the center and sprinkled with sugar.
In Denmark, the Berliner can be found with fillings in many bakeries. Aebleskiver is a Danish variant, too, without any fillings and eaten with jam on the side. Moreover, Ecuadorians eat round donuts (without a hole) called huevitos chilenos (“Chilean Eggs”) year-round.
Origin & Cultural Significance
Krofne (also called krafne in some parts of Croatia) actually originate from Austria. The name ‘krafne’ derives from the pastry chef Mrs. Cecilia Krapf, who used to work for the Emperor. She shared the recipe with the rest of the street pastry makers, which is how it became popular all over the Empire.
Krofne aren’t only served as a treat after Sunday lunch by grandmas and mothers at home but are also a big feature of celebrations and festivities like Easter, Christmas, New Year’s Day and Thanksgiving.
Krofne are especially enjoyed by Orthodox Christians before the Great Lent begins on Cheesefare Sunday, which is the last day any dairy product can be consumed.
Traditional Krofne Recipe (Serbian/Croatian Donut)
- All-purpose flour – 6 cups
- Milk – 1 cup
- Sugar – ¼ cup
- Salt – 2 tsp
- Unsalted butter – 8 tbsp
- Active dry yeast – 2 ¼ tsp
- Hot water – 1 cup
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Large eggs – 3
- Cooking oil – 4 cups
- Vanilla sugar/fruit sugar/granulated sugar - for topping
- Take one cup of milk, pour it into a small pan, and remove it from the flame when it’s about to start boiling. Let it cool down a bit in the same pan.
- Add unsalted butter, sugar, and salt to the pan and allow the butter to melt in it.
- Meanwhile, heat up the water (1 cup) and then dissolve in the dry yeast.
- Take a large bowl and start adding the milk mixture, yeast, lemon zest, and slightly-beaten eggs and mix all the ingredients thoroughly.
- Once all the ingredients are properly mixed, it’s time to add all-purpose flour in the same bowl and again mix it until smooth.
- Transfer the dough mixture to another greased bowl and cover it with plastic wrap (cling film). Allow it time to rise. If you want extra fluffy krofne, you can punch down the dough once it rises and let it rise again for the second time.
- Now punch down the dough and flatten it on a lightly floured surface. Make sure to keep the thickness to a half inch.
- Use a circle-shaped (cookie) cutter – ideally 3 to 5 inches in size to make perfectly round-shaped krofne.
- Let those nicely-cut krofne rise for about half an hour. Don’t forget to cover them with plastic wrap again!
- Take a medium-sized deep frying pan and heat it to 350 F (170 C). Of course, you can use a thermometer to maintain the temperature.
- Fry krofne in the hot oil and turn sides until golden brown. Take them out on an absorbent paper and dust them with the sugar of your choice (vanilla/fruit/granulated) while still hot. Voila!
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 338Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 23gCholesterol: 23mgSodium: 139mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 3g
Photo credit: SpeedyGonsales